8 July 2015 - 13:18

GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership supports employee health and social wellbeing

GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership supports employee health and social wellbeing

(Press release Public Health Agency (PHA): Belfast, Northern Ireland, 8 July 2015 - The Public Health Agency (PHA) has commended GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership, contractors on the new construction phase of the Ulster Hospital, for promoting the ‘Workplace 28 Day Stop Smoking Challenge’ through their health and wellbeing initiatives, and congratulated more than 30 staff who took part.

The ‘Workplace 28 Day Stop Smoking Challenge’ was launched on in October last year to encourage and support workers to stop smoking and called for businesses to work with the PHA to make this happen. Congratulating GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership, Gerry Bleakney, Strategic Lead for Tobacco Control with the PHA, said: ‘We are delighted to have GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership supporting our stop smoking challenge. If a person stops smoking for 28 days or more, they are five times more likely to stop for good.’

In Northern Ireland, smoke breaks are part of the daily routine for many workers. The 28 Day Challenge encourages smokers to come together with a more positive purpose, which is to support and encourage one another to quit smoking. The workplace is an ideal setting for breaking the smoking habit.

Smoke breaks and additional sick leave taken by smokers are costing UK businesses £8.7 billion annually in lost productivity, so helping staff to stop smoking makes sense both economically and in terms of health, and shows that a business is committed to improving the wellbeing of its staff.

Gerry Bleakney added: ‘Having support from employers is essential if we are to reduce the numbers of smokers in Northern Ireland, and GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership has shown how this can be done by taking part in our challenge and successfully running stop smoking clinics to help its employees on their journey. I would also like to congratulate the individuals who have stopped smoking for 28 days or more and made a conscious decision to improve their health and wellbeing.’

Cancer Focus Northern Ireland offers a range of award-winning stop smoking services, funded by the PHA, and promoted the 28 Day Challenge in local workplaces including GRAHAM-BAM.

Bernie Neeson, stop smoking coordinator with Cancer Focus NI, said: ‘Our Workplace Stop Smoking Support Service is offered to employees in many different firms and businesses over a period of 8 to 12 weeks. The service includes behavioural support along with Nicotine Replacement Therapy to help smokers break their habit and cope with nicotine cravings. Our service is very successful and we’re pleased that so many employees at GRAHAM-BAM took up this tough challenge and, with the support of our specialist staff, have done so well.’

Attracta Mathews, Community Liaison Coordinator (Health & Wellbeing), GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership, said: ‘As an organisation we continually strive to invest in initiatives to improve the health and wellbeing of our staff. Raising awareness of the risks of smoking is of significant importance and one that we actively reinforce. We were encouraged by the amount interest in this initiative and are delighted that over 30 of our site operatives have started on the journey of changing their lives and quitting smoking for good. The results to date have been fantastic and we will continue to encourage and support staff on their journey. GRAHAM-BAM Healthcare Partnership would like to take this opportunity to thank the Cancer Focus NI stop smoking service for working with us to facilitate this positive change and the PHA for its funding of this work.’

If you are a smoker and would like to stop, visit the PHA’s ‘Want 2 Stop’ website at www.want2stop.info where you can find useful tips to stop smoking and you can also order a ‘Quit Kit’ free of charge which will help you plan your quit attempt. To book the Cancer Focus NI stop smoking service for your workers call 028 9066 3281 or email behealthy@cancerfocusni.org